LCBO Food & Drink Holiday 2020

Welcome to the Holiday 2020 issue of LCBO Food & Drink. Everyone's favourite issue of the year is full of great ideas to help you make the most of this Holiday season. - Easy holiday hosting: A super simple supper that presents as an impressive dinner party menu - Good, better & best: From basic to mid-point to luxe, festive wines at any price - Aroma therapy: Recipes that will fill your home with the scents of the season Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday season!


The Holiday Issue


It’s a cookie, it’s a pie.

You’re about to bring out dessert. There’s an irresistible aroma wafting from your oven. Is it cookies… or pie? It’s both. Our hybrid cookie pie has a tender cookie crust studded with teeny-tiny PC ® The Decadent ® Chocolate Chip. Inside is a gooey toffee-like brown sugar filling loaded with even more chocolate chips! Imagine the absolute triumph of presenting this knockout dessert to a table full of guests. It’s even bake-from-frozen- easy enough for a Wednesday night. You’re already on your way to the store, aren’t you?

Try the new PC ® The Decadent ® Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Explore the PC Insiders holiday collection at

Embrace the taste of home this holiday season. Savour the simple pleasures of connecting with friends

and family to enjoy good food, great wine

and time spent together.

Ontario – this place we call home is special.

Celebrate 100% Ontario grown and crafted,

internationally acclaimed, world class VQA wines.

So, pull up a chair and embrace the taste of home , with a glass of VQA wine.




Canada Dry is a trademark of Canada Dry Mott’s Inc.

Advertising Feature

In a Boston shaker, mix bourbon, honey syrup, pineapple juice,

5 oz. Canada Dry Premium* Ginger Beer

lemon juice and bitters. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into

1.5 oz. bourbon

.75 oz. honey syrup †

a glass. Add ice and top off with Canada Dry Premium Ginger

Beer. Garnish with pineapple leaves and lemon zest.

.75 oz. pineapple juice

.5 oz. lemon juice

Honey syrup: Bring 250 ml of water to a boil in a pot.

2 dashes of bitters

Garnish: 2 pineapple leaves & twist of lemon zest

Add 250 ml of honey and whisk until dissolved.



Find more recipes at


Mott’s and Clamato are trademarks of Canada Dry Mott’s Inc.

Advertising Feature

These holidays are all about enjoying the very best, like new Mott’s Clamato Reserve . Made with natural ingredients and fire roasted jalapeno puree, Mott’s Clamato Reserve is a treat for Caesar lovers, and newcomers, alike.

For a holiday recipe you’ll love and love to share, try our exclusive Naughty & Nice Caesar , specially created to be made with Mott’s Clamato Reserve.


1 Rim your favourite glassware. 2 Add vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, jalapeno hot sauce and sage leaves to the glassware. 3 Briefly muddle the ingredients to release the sage leaf oils. 4 Add ice. 5 Top off with Mott’s Clamato Reserve. Mix well. 6 Garnish with sage and skewered cranberries.

5–6 oz. Mott’s Clamato Reserve

1 oz. vodka

.75 oz. cranberry juice

.5 oz. Cointreau

.5 oz. lime juice

2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

4 dashes of jalapeno hot sauce

2 fresh sage leaves

Rim: 1 tbsp. celery salt & 1 tsp. brown sugar

Garnish: sage & skewered cranberries

Find more recipes at



114 EASY HOLIDAY HOSTING By Christopher St. Onge


If you’re hosting a holiday dinner party, this super simple menu presents as if you’ve been in the kitchen all day.

122 COOKIES GALORE! By Michelle Lucas Larving

We’ve pulled out all the stops this year with four themed cookie boxes, great for mixing and matching in gifts and cookie exchanges.

128 12 DAYS OF COCKTAILS By Charlene Rooke

Go big or go gourmet—six big-batch cocktails keep things deliciously simple while six single-serving variations take things to the next level.

136 AROMA THERAPY By Victoria Walsh

Festive scents wafting from the kitchen are a hallmark of the season—and all these recipes are designed to create that magic. 142 GOOD, BETTER & BEST By James Chatto No matter what their price tag, these expertly curated holiday wines are sure to impress—stock up for entertaining or for giving at any occasion. Give tradition a tweak at the big feast with different birds that sub for turkey—plus the perfect sides, created especially for each one. 154 IN FROM THE COLD By Michele Sponagle & Jennifer MacKenzie Inspired by the tree-to-table experience at Ottercreek Woodworks near Tillsonburg, Ont.— a deliciously warming lunch that’s perfect after time spent outdoors. 148 RARE BIRDS By Christopher St. Onge

ON THE COVER Festive Manhattan, recipe on page 246 Photography by James Tse





Departments FOOD 55 ENTERTAINING VEGGIE DELUXE By Eric Vellend Mouth-watering mains, as special as any other dish at the holiday table, will treat your vegetarians right.


99 ASK THE EXPERTS HOMEY FOR THE HOLIDAYS By Amy Rosen Four Ontario chefs share favourite dishes they make for their own families over the holidays.


By Tonia Wilson-Vuksanovic Fully delish in their own right, reinvented leftovers are great for keeping things interesting on Boxing Day and beyond.

Craving fresh tastes but lack the steam for new recipes? We’ve got quick and easy ways to perk up your old standbys.

175 BASICS CHEESECAKE 101 By Joanne Yolles

65 GIFTING BREADS & SPREADS By Marcella DiLonardo


One of the most searched holiday desserts, our step‑by‑step guide to the perfect cheesecake is designed with both newbie and seasoned bakers in mind.

Homemade breads with freshly made spreads make fantastic edible gifts—if they make it out of your kitchen.

Whether you want your taters rustic and on the lighter side or more divinely decadent, we’ve got something yum for you!

Shop the Issue at fdholiday20




Mark your holidays with Le Creuset.

Bayview Village · Sherway Gardens



Departments drink 47 ASK THE EXPERTS HOLIDAY CHEERS! By Christine Sismondo

Made with local craft spirits and created by four Ontario bartenders, these festive drinks keep it simple yet fabulous.


A curated cocktail kit themed around someone’s favourite drink—with special touches included—makes a welcome gift. 89 FESTIVE SMOKE & BUBBLES By Dick Snyder New Year’s Eve bubbly and Ontario smoked fish shine extra bright when paired; great for small gatherings or for gifting.


201 TWISTS THE GOODS ON GIVING By Erin McLaughlin Bottles that give back in more ways than one turn holiday shopping at the LCBO into something extra meaningful.

207 ENTERTAINING BRUNCH AT HOME By Victoria Walsh Lazy mornings with guests call for simple breakfast sandwiches along with tasty low- and no‑alcohol drinks.

183 LOCAL BOARDING UP By Crystal & Tara Luxmore Four locally sourced cheese and nut boards, with sips to match, are terrific for sharing with neighbours or enjoying at home.

Seasonal bags, boxes and tubes from LCBO and Vintages make beautifying your presents a snap—especially with any of our classic, new and festive bottle recommendations inside!

In every issue


18 EDITOR’S NOTES 25 INSIDE SCOOP By Eric Vellend The latest bits, bites and sips to keep you in the know.

Ontario-made greeting cards helpmake this the most wonderful time of the year for friends near and far.




Celebrate with Balderson

World’s finest aged cheddar

Trademarks owned or used under license by Lactalis Canada, Toronto, Ontario, M9C 5J1. © Lactalis Canada, 2020. All rights reserved.

Coming next issue Spring 2021

Spring bake-off Mouth-watering takes on bake sale favourites Earth Day entertaining A plant-based menu paired with sustainable wines Canned remix Elevate ready-to-drink products with mixers, garnishes and more Fluffy cocktails A velvety foam topping adorns drinks perfect for spring

Many of the products featured in this issue are available to purchase online at

VP Marketing & Customer Intelligence Vanda Provato Editor Jody Dunn Art Directors Karen Lim

Publication Assistant Piper MacFadyen Production Assistant

Everton Smith Food Stylists Michael Elliott, Eshun Mott, Christopher St. Onge Prop Stylists Christine Hanlon, Catherine MacFadyen, Andrea McCrindle, Shelly Shnier Contributors James Chatto, Dré Dee, Marcella DiLonardo, Anna Kohn, Michelle Lucas Larving, Crystal Luxmore, Tara Luxmore, Jennifer MacKenzie, Irene Matys, Erin McLaughlin, Brenda Morrison, Eshun Mott, Amy Rosen, Christine Sismondo, Dick Snyder, Michele Sponagle, Christopher St. Onge, Victoria Walsh, Tonia Wilson‑Vuksanovic, Joanne Yolles Publisher Wayne Leek Advertising Sales

For general inquiries about Food & Drink magazine or information about LCBO products and policy please contact helloLCBO online at, or call toll-free 800•668•5226 or 416•365•5900. TTY Only: 416•864•6898 or 800•361•3291. All advertiser applications are subject to the terms and conditions of the LCBO’s advertising agreement. Food & Drink is published five times a year by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Volume 28, Number 2. Food & Drink is printed on paper that contains 10 percent post‑consumer fibre. Food & Drink is recyclable in communities participating in magazine recycling programs.

Cathy Cicchini Drinks Editor Charlene Rooke

Food Editor Eric Vellend Content Editors Suresh Doss Victoria Walsh Publication Coordinator Leslie Bolter Graphic Designers Dominique Patafio Pat Turbach Production Coordinator Judy Haverkort

Publication Mail Agreement No. 40064521 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Food & Drink , 55 Lake Shore Boulevard East, Toronto, ON, M5E 1A4 ISSN 1195-5988

Not all of the wines, spirits and beers mentioned in Food & Drink will be available at all LCBO stores. Prices are subject to change without notice. Cette publication est également disponible en français.

Kirby Miller, Beaches Media Services



FOLONARI PINOT GRIGIO LCBO #229542 $ 2 OFF 11/30/2020 – 01/03/2021

FOLONARI VALPOLICELLA LCBO #828 $ 2 OFF 11/09/2020 – 11/29/2020

FOLONARI VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO LCBO #481838 $ 2 OFF 11/09/2020 – 11/29/2020



*Please enjoy responsibly


From our President & CEO

Dear friends,    We have almost made it to the end of one of the most challenging years any of us can remember. While we continue to live and work alongside a global pandemic, I imagine we will all be wishing each other a particularly heartfelt “Happy New Year!” on December 31. Though office parties are not in the plans this year, Christmas, Hanukkah and all the many wonderful holiday celebrations remain important. Friends and family will still get together and there will be wonderful things to eat and drink, whatever the size of the gatherings we host. We have earned this festive season—and it would not be complete without an abundant Holiday issue of Food & Drink to provide inspiration. Congratulations to our team behind the magazine for another great job!    Something else that has been truly inspiring is the ongoing support you have given our “Pair it Forward” initiative that encourages everyone to choose local options (visit link below for more information). This continues to be a particularly difficult time for our friends

in retail and in the restaurant and bar industry across Ontario. Supporting each other and staying loyal to local will help rebuild our province’s economy—and that makes good sense.    As we move into the busiest time of the year, I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to everyone at the LCBO for remaining passionately committed to safe, exceptional customer service since the pandemic began—especially our retail teams in stores across the province. Above all, let me thank you, our customers, for your patience and understanding during these unusual times. We are all in this together. So as the holiday season begins, let’s raise a toast to one another and to our hopes for the new year to come.


George Soleas President & CEO, LCBO

To find out more about what the LCBO is doing to support local, visit and use #PairItForward on social media to highlight your favourite local small businesses.




Happy Holidays!

What a long, strange year it has been… We’ve finally arrived at what is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, but we’re still not sure what the holiday season will look like in 2020. Take a mental break from all that uncertainty and—whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa—dive into this issue that is full of festive recipes, drinks, projects and gift ideas to inspire your celebrations no matter where they take place or who is around your table. If you’re not doing it already, this is the year to support local as much as possible when doing your shopping. Whether for gifting, entertaining or your own personal enjoyment, we’ve got plenty of ideas for how to do that in this issue. Load up on Ontario delicacies from cheese and nuts (page 183) to smoked fish (page 89) and snacks (page 40)—and of course pair them with local wines, beers and spirits too! And, if you’re looking for a unique local expe- rience, check out page 154 for some gifting or future planning inspiration. Yes, this holiday season will be decid- edly different, but that is no reason not to celebrate. Keep it comfy and cozy, but still special, with delicious breakfast sand- wiches for every day of your holiday break (page 207) and check out all the creative ways to use up leftovers before the calendar turns to the new year on page 81. It’s been said that scent evokes the strongest memo- ries and we have five ways to fill your home with the wonderful aromas of the season starting on page 136—gingerbread pop- corn anyone? And, if a lack of travel finds you with a bit more time on your hands, use that time wisely to master the art of cheesecake (page 175) or to find your new favourite mashed potato recipe (page 95).

Every Holiday issue is of course filled with plenty of gifting ideas. On page 201, we’ve put the focus on bottles that give back, making for extra thought- ful gifts. DIY fans might consider putting together a personalized cocktail kit for their best pals (page 73), or if you are a last-minute shopper, we’ve curated some can’t-miss bottles to give over the holidays (page 167)—just pop any of them in the stylish festive gift packaging at the LCBO and cross a line off your list. And don’t forget to treat yourself by raising a toast or two—you’ve certainly earned it this year! We’ve got suggestions for amazing holiday wines at several price points for any occasion starting on page 142 and, on page 128, you’ll find 12 festive cocktails that will appeal to minimalists and maximalists alike. Finally, what’s Christmas without cookies? We went a little crazy with “Cookies Galore!” on page 122 and according to the photography crew, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices, so we dare you—make them all! We wish you a very merry holiday season and a most fervent wish for a happy new year too!





On a personal note, the Food & Drink team lost one of our long-time and favourite contributors earlier this year: recipe developer Julia Aitken. Julia was such a pro and she taught me so much. Never anything but a pleasure and her work was always perfect—she has been and will be missed on our pages, and in our regular chats. We are thinking of her husband, Iain, her family and many friends this holiday season.



Advertising Feature

NEXT-LEVEL SALSA Your favourite jarred salsa + Chopped cilantro + Diced sweet onion + Generous squeeze of lime

This holiday, bring your social bubble on board with classic Hasbro games that make the mood merry! For Grown -Ups

For the Wordsmiths

A letter-perfect night is guaranteed when you let your tiles do the talking. Whether you team up or go it alone, the mood’s bound to get competitive with fellow logophiles present; be sure to have the official Scrabble dictionary at hand—or just a click away—to resolve those “C’mon, that’s not a word!” challenges.

Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc VQA is light and dry with refreshing acidity— perfect for toasting those triple-word- score moments.

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Quench post-Scattergories thirst with the crisp melon, apple and light oak aromas of Jackson-Triggs Reserve Chardonnay VQA.

STUFFED FIGS Halved fresh figs + Chunks of blue cheese + Toasted walnut halves

For the Quick Thinkers

What’s something hot that starts with the letter “M”? “Me” doesn’t count, or does it? Get your list on with the game that forces you to think outside the box—and the brain of the person sitting beside you. Scattergories is ideal for both in-person and virtual soirées, so roll the die and grab your pencil… The timer starts now!

For the Risk Takers

When friends gather to defy the laws of gravity, the odds are stacked, and so is the game itself. Jenga ® game’s iconic blocks aren’t for the faint of heart—nobody wants to make that tower tumble!—but with a steady hand and steely eye, you just might stay in the winner’s circle.

In the Jenga® game, as in wine drinking, fortune favours the bold. Jackson-Triggs Reserve Cabernet Shiraz VQA has a full body with pepper and dark-berry notes.

PROSCUITTO ON A STICK Store-bought breadsticks + Thin slices of proscuitto +

Sour cream with a few tablespoons of pesto for dipping

Advertising Feature

BBQ POPCORN Microwave or stovetop popcorn + Melted butter + Glug of maple syrup + Dash of BBQ seasoning

For the Team Players

“Silent Night” isn’t possible when a few rounds of Taboo are on the table. The goal? Get your team to say as many Guess Words as possible before time’s up. Say a Taboo Word and— BUZZ—that Guess Word is toast (and not the glasses- clinking kind). As the night winds down, present the high-scoring duo with their own Taboo to take home as a party favour. ’Tis the season for classic game gifts!

With rich berry flavours, Jackson- Triggs Reserve Merlot VQAmakes your Taboo triumphs even sweeter.

$17 solution. Great-value wines.


Fresh, fruit-forward and approachable, this ripe and juicy Californian Cabernet is crafted in a crowd-pleasing style. Try it with lamb. JOLIESSE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 California 16564 (D) 750 mL $17.00 2 Full-bodied & Firm Intense, lush and ripe, with complex black cherry, bramble and garrigue. An astonishing value, this will be wonderful with a beef stew. LOUIS BERNARD LOUIS CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2016 AP, Rhône, France 561290 (XD) 750 mL $17.00 2 Full-bodied & Smooth 90 points (Anna Lee Iijima, Wine Enthusiast )

$17 SOLUTION. AVAILABLE IN STORES AND ONLINE OCTOBER 31, 2020. Featured products may not be available in all Vintages locations. Visit for availability and store locations. Prices subject to change.



Inside scoop The latest bits, bites and sips to keep you in the know.

By Eric Vellend | PHOTOGRAPHY by Rob fiocca & Darren kemper

Whether you’re hankering for large-format wines, easy sparkling cocktails, silky smooth eggnog or any other drink, we’ll make sure you don’t go thirsty this holiday season. For the baker, we’ve got hacks and a divine brownie recipe, and— amongst other things—if you’re a seafood lover, take a crash course in oysters from Canada’s pre‑eminent expert. Happy holidays!



26 Winter whites 26 Make a splash 28 Gift-off 28 ’Nog jam 28 Who to follow

30 Bucking the trend 30 Substitute teacher 30 Variety in store 32 Go big 32 Razor’s edge 34 Bowled over 34 Raw deal 34 The butter way 36 Oysters 101 38 Double take 38 Red gold 40 4 sensational snacks


Oysters 101




Make a splash For a tasty drink that won’t mess up your bar, consider an easy sparkling wine cocktail. Fill a flute with cold bubbles (4 oz), add a splash of liqueur or fruit juice (no more than 1 oz), simple garnish, and you’re done! No shaker, no ice, no problem. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Winter whites While rich, full-bodied white wines will never be as popular as Pinot Grigio, winter is their time to shine. Fresh, flo- ral and fruity, Chilean Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier (LCBO 64287, $11.70) is a great intro to weightier whites and it’s consistently one of the biggest bargains at the LCBO. Bold, tropical and unctuous, Willm Gewurztraminer Reserve Alsace (LCBO 269852, $17.95) is a clas- sic example of Alsatian Gewürtz and another great value.

Kir Royale Sparkler Crémant Splash Crème de cassis Garnish Lemon twist Pro Pom Sparkler Prosecco Splash Pomegranate juice Garnish Pomegranate seeds Wise Elder Sparkler Cava Splash St-Germain liqueur Garnish Thyme sprig

Make it a mocktail! To enjoy sparkling cocktails without the alcohol, just mix fruit juice or syrup with Grüvi Non-Alcoholic Prosecco (4 x 275 mL, $18.99),

How to pair winter whites At the table, Viognier really blossoms with rich sauces such as seared scallops with brown butter and capers or a classic poulet à la crème . Gewürtzraminer is excellent with strong cheeses such as Roquefort, and its oily texture provides a buffer against fiery Asian cuisine including Sichuan and Thai. Either one of these wintery whites would be terrific with our vegetarian Master Curry Sauce with Tofu & Peas (recipe at




We asked three LCBO buyers for holiday gift ideas. Here are the seasonal purchases they’re most excited about. Gift-off

’Nog jam Most eggnog recipes are built for a crowd and require sepa- rating eggs, whipping whites, and a whole lot of work. Sometimes you want a rich, creamy glass of ’nog without a big-batch commitment. Enter our easy Eggnog for Two (recipe on page 252), which is a classic Flip fortified with rum and Cognac, enriched with cream and dusted with nut- meg. Sure, it requires a little more elbow grease to shake, but you can still have drinks up in minutes. DRINK OF THE SEASON

MARKWILSON, BEER Lake of Bays Toasty Toes Taster Pack LCBO 17141, 5 x 473 mL, $22.95

ADAM CAPUTO, WINE Ruffino Riserva Ducale Special Edition Gift Pack LCBO 16945, $25.95 “Perfect with steak or pasta bolognese, this Chianti Riserva (a long-time customer favourite) will be offered in three hand- some cylinder gift packs.”

TANIA HOFFWELLER, SPIRITS Whitley Neill Gin Christmas Crackers Gift Pack LCBO 17163, 6 x 50 mL, $44.95 “The popular U.K. distiller offers a snack pack of flavoured gins including Blood Orange and Rhubarb & Ginger. Packaged as colourful Christmas crack- ers, they make great stocking stuffers.”

“With three favourites, two new surprise beers and a snazzy pair of holiday socks, this Muskoka- based brewer puts fun and mystery into gift-giving.”

Shop the Issue at fdholiday20

trywith El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Demerara Rum LCBO 366666, $34.15

Who to follow: @mcnicolmakes If you’re looking for some drinks inspiration this holiday season, check out Lauren McNicol, the talented general manager of Cocktail Emporium (, Canada’s top source for bar paraphernalia. She takes gorgeous photos, posts delicious recipes, and engages with her followers. And if you’re going dry this January, she’s got you covered with inventive mocktails.





From our 1400 Canadian farmer-members, to front-line grocery workers, and the Gay Lea Foods production team: thank you for coming together to sustain the health and well-being of all Canadians. As a Co-Operative, we know things work better when we do it together.


SEASONAL SIPS Variety in store

Take advantage of limited-time only gift packs and try a variety of ciders and ready-to-drink cocktails made right here in Ontario.

Georgian Bay Smashed Soda Smash Pack LCBO 17068, 12 x 355 mL, $28.95 Spiked with gin and lightly sweet- ened—only 2 g of sugar per can. Enjoy strawberry, mandarin or lime.

Bucking the trend SQUARE OF THE SEASON

Beyond finishing cookies with sea salt and putting tahini in everything, the biggest baking trend this year has been using alternative flours. Home bakers have had success with every- thing from rye flour in chocolate chip cookies to chickpea flour in banana bread. Rich in fibre and minerals and naturally gluten-free, buckwheat flour has an earthy, nutty flavour that pairs beautifully with chocolate. Experience this winning combination in our moist, fudgy Gluten-Free Buckwheat Brownies (recipe on page 254).

Ernest Cider Holiday Pack LCBO 17064, 4 x 473 mL, $19.05

Only local fruit is used in these ciders. This pack includes Ernest’s Wild Blue- berry and their flagship Rubee with cranberries, cherries and honey, plus a branded glass.

Substitute teacher Cake flour gone off? Ran out of brown sugar? Don’t need a whole carton of buttermilk? Here are three easy substitutions to make your baking life a whole lot easier. KITCHEN HACK






Cake flour Place 2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch in a 1-cup

Brown sugar For light brown sugar, measure 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar. Remove 2 heaping tsp (10 mL) and replace with 2 level tsp (10 mL) molasses. For dark brown sugar, increase the amounts to 3 tsp (15 mL).

Buttermilk Place 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice or white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to measure 1 cup (250 mL). Let stand 5minutes before using.

Cottage Springs Winter Weekender LCBO 17081, 8 x 355 mL, $19.95 Expect four flavours of sweetener-free vodka sodas, including blood orange and pomegranate.

(250-mL) measure. Top with all-purpose flour then level. Sift twice before using.



with the most hydrogen peroxide in a whitening toothpaste. †

©2020 Colgate-Palmolive Company

*When brushing twice daily for 4 weeks. † Offered for sale in retail channels. Toothpaste fights cavities.



When shopping for beer over the holidays, consider some of the large- format bottles at the LCBO. Not only do they make an affordable gift for the beer drinker in your life, they’re also perfect for sharing over a leisurely weekend lunch. If you want to try one of the world’s highest rated beers, grab a St. Bernardus Abt 12 (LCBO 346197, 750 mL, $11.45), a dark quadrupel (aka quad) style ale from Belgium that’s a perfect balance of malty, bitter and sweet. Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout (LCBO 222315, 750 mL, $14.95) is a rich, full-bodied stout flavoured with local cranberries—pour it with any chocolatey dessert. Finally, when it’s party time, plop a magnum of Grolsch Premium Pilsner 1.5 L (LCBO 292417, 1.5 L, $13.95) in a snow bank then repurpose the iconic green bottle as a stylish water jug.

KITCHEN SKILLS Razor’s edge Don’t let a dull carving knife ruin your holiday roast. Here’s how to keep your knives sharp.

Stone A sharpening stone (some- times called a whetstone) is the tool of choice among chefs, butchers and fishmongers. The rectangular stone has a coarse side, which will bring back the dullest of blades, and a fine side, which will revive a knife that’s lost a little edge. It takes some instruction and practice, but once you get the hang of it there’s no going back. Learn how to use a sharpening stone atØfxL8v2dMho.

Sharpener There are hundreds of

Steel Contrary to popular belief, a sharpening (or honing) steel will not sharpen a dull knife. The hand-held rod hones and maintains a relatively sharp blade. A ceramic “steel” does a better job than one made from stainless or carbon steel, though it can break if dropped.

Pro Please don’t let the guy in the converted ice cream truck sharpen your knives. You will regret it. Expensive knives, especially carbon steel or Jap- anese, need the delicate hand of a professional. In Toronto there is chef-trusted Tosho Knife Arts (, and if you live in the Ottawa area, count on Knifewear Ottawa ( Both shops will also sell everything you need to sharpen your knives at home.

sharpeners on the market, but if your knives are relatively new or the blades are still true to their original shape, the low-fi Wüsthof Two Stage Pull-Through Knife Sharpener ($39, will do the trick. Bonus: the fine setting negates the need for a honing steel. However, if you want your knives razor sharp, it’s time to learn how to use a stone or hire a professional.



Celebrate Memorable meals begin with Ontario veal.

Vea esto Roast

Talk to your butcher about a week in advance as this cut is often a special order. Ask for the veal rack to be trimmed and frenched. For the recipe and more holiday meal inspiration visit f i l


Bowled over DINNER’S READY

Whether you like instant ramen or low-calorie shirataki, ready-to- eat noodles are easily elevated into a memorable meal. Here are three quick ways to get your slurp on.






instant ramen

mushroom broth


baby bok choy

green onions


cherry tomatoes

ready-to-eat pasta




When takeout sushi is on the menu, most people will reach for beer or sake. There is a third option, which, quite frankly, is the best pairing with raw fish and rice: sparkling wine. From the VINTAGES ESSENTIALS col- lection, Cave Springs Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling VQA ( VINTAGES ESSENTALS 213983, $29.95) is a local, traditional-method sparkler that’s crisp, elegant and guaranteed to make sushi night special. And while you’re at it, grab a few extra bottles for New Year’s Eve.

shirataki noodles


pad Thai sauce

snow peas


The butter way You’re all set for a big baking session but you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge. Before reaching for the microwave—you know it’s going to melt—here are two easy ways to quickly soften butter. One is to place cold butter between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out with a rolling pin. Lift off the top sheet and it will soften in a jiffy. The second way is even faster, though it does create a few dirty dishes. Simply grate cold butter onto a baking pan, spread it out, and you’ll have soft butter in a flash. KITCHEN HACK




Beausoleils are farmed in Miramichi Bay, New Brunswick.

test drive Blade runner

How to cook with oysters Fresh oysters have many delicious preparations beyond the raw bar. And if you ask your fishmonger to shuck them, it saves half the work. There are timeless baked dishes such as spinach-topped Rockefeller, and they respond particularly well to frying either in a tempura batter or cornmeal crust. To make the most of oysters and all their briny liquor, make a pot of our comforting chowder-like Oyster Stew (recipe at Designed by McMurray, the efficient pistol grip shucker won’t slip and allows you to open oysters with less force. Shucker Paddy Original Oyster Knife, $25,

For a primer on serving oysters at home, we tapped Patrick McMurray (, a world champion shucker and author of The Oyster Companion . Oysters 101 ASK AN EXPERT

Where is the best place to buy oysters? “Either a reputable fishmon- ger or an oyster bar. Any oyster bar will have oysters you can’t get anywhere else, and they’ll sell them to you whole or shucked. I work with; they’ll ship oysters any- where in Ontario. You can also go straight to the fisherman: Raspberry Point ( will ship directly from the water to anywhere in Canada.” Which varieties should people look for? “Any fishmonger will have Malpeques, which are from P.E.I. For a New Bruns- wick oyster, try Beausoleil, which come in a lovely little wooden box. When you see

33 oysters for $15, they’re wild P.E.I. oysters, which have an odd shape and are hard to open. Spend a couple extra bucks and get something easier to open.” What about washing and storing? “Cover them in wet paper towel and leave in the fridge until it’s time to open. Just before serving, put them in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. You’ll get them nice and cold, and all the surface dirt will come off.” What’s the best set-up for shucking? “Use a cookie sheet with a wet towel underneath as your shucking kit. It will help keep the kitchen clean. Wet a tea towel, make

a square and put an oyster in the “envelope.” Hold it like you mean it, keep your eyes on the oyster and work slowly. Insert the blade in the hinge like a key in a lock. Twist it; don’t open it like a paint can. Put the top shells down on the platter first so the shucked oysters won’t rock around.” What are the best sauces to serve with oysters? “Other than lemon wedges, do the classics: mignon- ette, cocktail sauce and hot sauce, either Tabasco or Frank’s. For me, I don’t do sauce. Just a nice glass of Chablis.”


Watch Patrick McMurray open an oyster at I



This holiday season take your loved ones to the world’s great wine regions.

Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon Classic Langhorne Creek Cab from Australia’s second oldest winery. $19.95

Bar Dog Cabernet Sauvignon Taste the California sunshine in this bold, classic Cali Cab. $17.95

Castano Tinto Crafted from 35 year old Monastrell vines in Southern Spain , this is a wine to be discovered. 92 Points, Toronto Star (v17) $8.95

Callia Cabernet Sauvignon Hailing from Argentina’s lofty vineyards, this Cabernet delivers unsurpassed value. $9.95

Wits End Luna Shiraz Hot days and cool nights in McLaren Vale, Australia yield this LCBO favorite. 94 Points, Wine Orbit $17.95

Save $2.00 Nov 9-29

91 Points James Halliday Wine Companion

Save $0.50 Nov 30 - Jan 3

5 Star Wine

Save $3.00 Nov 9-29

Visit to buy online or find these wines in a store near you. •


Wines in magnums age slower than those in 750‑mL bottles.


Double take Don’t sleep on limited-edition large-format wines, great for gift-­ giving or festive celebrations. Here are options for both the budget-­ conscious and the big spender.

Moët & Chandon Golden Sleeved LCBO 291203, 1.5 L, $149.95 Fruity, complex Champagne dressed up for the holidays in a shiny gold sleeve.

Porta 6 Magnum LCBO 516948, 1.5 L, $24.95 With dark berry fla­ vours and a peppery finish, this red is a party favourite.

CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino LCBO 16822, 1.5 L, $119.95 An age-worthy Tuscan red for the hard-to- please wine collector.

Prosecco Valdobbiadene Sup Belcanto Magnum LCBO 53215, 1.5 L, $39.95 Fresh and vibrant with a frothy mousse, this Prosecco delivers big value for the price.


Red gold LOCAL FLAVOUR Maverick duo grows top-quality saffron in Northumberland County. Eastern Ontario is probably the last place you would associate with saffron, yet Martin Albert and Eric Charbonneau have been producing it on a farm north- west of Belleville since 2016. It all started on a whim.    “A friend told us about a woman growing it in Quebec,” recalls Albert. “Within two weeks we ordered 50,000 bulbs with no proper land to plant them on. People thought we were mad!”    Saffron-producing crocuses need soil with good drainage and year-round sun. The couple found the perfect patch near Warkworth, and True Saffron ( was born.    The plants go dormant during the heat of summer and don’t begin to bloom until mid-October. The flowers arrive over a four-week period, and the

backbreaking work of harvest explains why saffron is the world’s most expen- sive spice.    “We gather the troops, show up to the field, and pick in silence because we need to count,” says Albert. “When you see a flower it must be picked, processed, trimmed and dried that day.”    Each flower yields only three pistils (threads), and it takes 75 to 100 flow- ers to produce half a gram. At $30 per half gram, True Saffron is some of the priciest on the market, but the quality is consistently above Grade 1, the highest ranking for “red gold.”    “This is a labour of love,” says Albert. “Every penny we make we put back into the company. We’re certainly not doing it to become rich.”

How to cook with saffron Saffron may cost a fortune, but just a pinch will lend its vibrant colour and heavenly perfume. For maximum extraction, it is often first steeped in hot water or broth to make tea for many classic saffron-infused dishes such as bouilla- baisse and risotto Milanese. Another method is to grind the threads in a mortar and pestle with a little salt or sugar into a fragrant pow- der. Try this trick in Roasted Cumin & Saffron Cauliflower (recipe at, a quick and easy festive side dish.




SAVE $ 2.00

AT THE LCBO Nov. 30, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021

LCBO# 15514. Please enjoy responsibly.



4 sensational snacks For hosting or gifting, these made-in-Ontario snacks reflect your own great taste.

Cocktail Nuts Celebrate the season in style by serving Salted’s Fancy Cocktail Nuts (135 g, $15). Each num- bered pouch of seven fla- vour combos comes with suggested drink pairings right on the packaging. For example, pair the 02—a medley of Mar- cona almonds, candied rosemary, green raisins and sea salt—with a dry Martini.

Salted Company,

by Brenda Morrison | PHOTOGRAPHY by james tse

CRUNCH TIME Butter Crackers Help fight food waste while satisfying your hunger by snacking on Butter Crackers (110 g, $4.99). Made in small batches by The Spent Food Company using the “spent” or leftover high-fibre grains from producing craft beer, these thin, crispy strips are baked, not fried, and especially tasty with a cold beer. The Spent Goods Company, C b

POP CULTURE Alcohol-Infused Popcorn For popcorn connoisseurs: Eatable’s alcohol-infused gourmet popcorn is inspired by wine, spirits and classic cocktails. Flavours include Pop The Champagne, Whisky on the Pops and Pop the Salt & Tequila (100 g, $9). Can’t decide? Try the Connoisseur’s Flight with all

SWEET TREATS Belgian Bites With a store in Burlington as well as an online shop, Christy’s Gourmet transforms milk chocolate into exquisite Belgian Bites (150 g, $14), garnished with sponge toffee, toffee crunch, pecan butter tart toffee and caramel. Pairs perfectly with whisky or Cognac. Christy’s Gourmet,

five flavours ($45). Eatable,



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HOST MOST with the

FRENCH WINE … THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS! Whether you’re hosting a big celebration or an impromptu happy-hour gathering, the wines of France are an essential part of the fun. A new generation of producers in France is bringing a dynamic, modern attitude to revered family businesses, drawing on their personal experiences, their travels and a fresh vision of the world that is reflected in their work. The wines they’re creating today are so easy to love – and delightfully versatile, pairing beautifully with whatever food you decide to serve. Just set out a platter of treats and let the party begin!

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Juicy gooseberry and lime with a tantalizing hint of smoke.

François Lurton Fumées Blanches Sauvignon Blanc (LCBO 472555, $14)

A big spicy blend of stellar Syrah and Grenache – fabulous value!

TASTE THE SOUTH Sunshine at any time of the year! The Mediterranean inspires our splendid array of mezethes – the Greek word for delectable things to eat while you’re having a glass of wine before dinner. Stuffed vine leaves and peppers, olives and tabbouleh… Big flavours like these call for wines with loads of personality – perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc that’s crisp and clean but full of intense fruitiness (and happens to be great with any kind of salad). Or lightly chill a peppery red from the Southern Rhône, a wine that manages to be powerful but also disarmingly elegant.

Marius Rouge Pays d’Oc (LCBO 470096, $12.95)


Yes, we have brunch in France! And the perfect wines to go with it. Load up a board with all your favourite late-morning fare – soft burratas oozing cream, bacon and eggs, all sorts of salads and some crusty baguettes – and let everyone help themselves. Bubbles are essential! Try an elegant Chenin Blanc-based sparkler from the Loire Valley with hints of pear, lime and tangy apple jumping out of the glass. Or go for a smooth, fruity red that’s appealingly light on its feet, like a classic Beaujolais.

Classy bubbles that work with everything on your platter.

Château de Montgueret Crémant de Loire Brut (LCBO 217760, $19.95)

Bright fruit for brunchtime! Ripe cherry and floral Gamay aromas.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages (LCBO 122077, $15.05)

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FRUITS OF THE SEA Succulent shrimps and smoked salmon, oysters and mussels, garlic butter with a squeeze of lemon: who doesn’t love a seafood feast? There are so many incredible French wines that will match this spread, it’s hard to choose only two. Consider the blushing charm of a lively rosé made from a quartet of grapes from the south of France. Or turn to something really sophisticated – a classic Mâcon- Lugny from Burgundy’s warmest area, where the sunshine gives Chardonnay a peachy, oak-kissed quality that is frankly irresistible.

Floral and cherry aromas are as subtle as this fresh, dry rosé’s delicate colour.

L’Orangeraie Rosé Pays d’Oc (LCBO 279661, $12.35)

No wonder white Burgundy is the most renowned Chardonnay of all!

Bouchard Père & Fils Mâcon-Lugny St-Pierre (LCBO 51573, $22.60)


Classic Bordeaux with earthy power beneath all that lovely black fruit.

Winter nights are long and cold, and rich, meaty recipes start to look ever more appealing. Load up the board with the makings of a German-inspired feast – potatoes and cheeses, pretzels with mustard, everything you need to accompany all sorts of different saucissons! And to drink? It’s a moment for big reds – wines of depth and fruity intensity with the structure to stand up to even the heartiest dishes. France produces some of the best-loved red wines in the world, from Bordeaux and Burgundy to the sun-kissed blends of the South.

With ripe black fruit flavours, here’s a rich red in a smooth contemporary style.

Félix & Lucie Cabernet- Syrah (LCBO 635920, $14.95)

Château Timberlay Bordeaux Supérieur (LCBO 30072, $17.95)

Whatever the size of the get-together you’re planning, French wines make hosting easier. So approachable and always delicious, they have something to please everyone. Visit:


Meet the indigenous grapes of Sicilia, Grillo and Nero d’Avola , at

Photo by: Gio Martorana




Shannon-Blue Nanibush


Considered indispensable by many bartenders, herb syrups offer an easy way to add fresh flavour.

If there were a list of the best things to do in Ottawa at night, sitting at Shannon-Blue Nanibush’s lively bar would definitely be on it. And not just for her tight cocktail game, either! Nanibush has an uncanny ability to multi-task, all the while brightening up the room with her energy, enthusiasm and wicked smart sense of humour.

Memories of Bloomfield


Recipe on page 238

Given the rich smoky-maple flavour of Kinsip’s Maple Whisky, Nanibush chose to showcase this spirit in a simple, spirit-forward cocktail. Rosemary adds a little savoury twist and reminds Nanibush of the Christmas trees and evergreen forests surrounding the maple sugar bushes of her childhood. Kinsip Maple Whisky LCBO 453233, 375 mL, $33.30

Holiday cheers!

Keep it simple this season with holiday drinks made from local craft spirits, custom-designed by four of Ontario’s top cocktail bartenders.

BY Christine Sismondo | photography by james tse






Ontario’s oldest micro- distiller, Stalk & Barrel, celebrated its 10th anni­ versary this year with the release of Three Barrel Whisky, a master blend of corn, hearty single-malt and spicy rye whisky. Nogueda was inspired by seasonal flavour combinations like licorice, baking spice, ginger and oranges for this festive twist on a classic Manhattan. Stalk & Barrel Three Barrel Whisky LCBO 13323, $34.95

SANTA’S SURF SHACK This cheeky little drink pops with surprising notes that manage to balance perfectly with this gorgeous whisky. If you can’t find falernum, it’s still a great drink without—but slightly less festive. Falernum can be pur- chased from cocktail supply shops, such as 1 1/2 oz Stalk and Barrel Three Barrel Whisky 1/2 oz dry white vermouth 1/4 oz Fernet-Branca ( VINTAGES 220145, 500 mL, $24.30) 1/4 oz falernum syrup 6 drops Pernod ( LCBO 6049, $29.95) 2 orange peels (for garnish) 2 cloves (for garnish) 1 Add 6 ice cubes and all liquid ingredients to a mixing glass and stir for 45 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice cubes. Express the oils from one orange peel and discard. Press cloves into the other orange peel for a garnish.

Falernum is a clove, ginger and lime syrup that adds spicy zest to any cocktail.

Alana Nogueda


Most people who know Alana Nogueda associate her with tiki and tropical drinks, in particular the Daiquiri, which she’s practically famous for. She’s got a serious side too, though, thanks to her training in pared-down, elegant whisky cocktails that are more suitable for winter weather.

Makes 1 drink







Wayne Gretzky Estates o ff ers a wide selection of award-winning wine, beer and spirits to help you celebrate the season.

Pinot Grigio #326256 $13.95

Salted Caramel Cream #18524 $34.95

Cabernet Merlot #75689 $15.95 SAVE $1.00 from Nov. 30–Jan. 3

Premium Lager #139162 $2.95

Maple Cask Whisky #17885 $39.95



A splash of green Chartreuse, a traditional herbal liqueur, can add depth and complexity to a cocktail.


Cronin wanted Crosscut Local Harvest Gin’s festive notes like cinnamon, cloves, black licorice and citrus to shine through in this Toddy, which was partly inspired by the fact that ending the night off with a nice cup of hot herbaceous tea was one of his family’s most cher- ished holiday traditions.

Crosscut Distillery Local Harvest Gin LCBO 636571, $42.95

Local Harvest Toddy With its delicate herbal notes, this warm and soothing Toddy is exactly what you want when enjoying a nice quiet night in. 1 1/2 oz Crosscut Distillery Local Harvest Gin 3/4 oz Lavender-Honey Syrup (recipe on page 238) 1/4 oz Chartreuse Green ( LCBO 37333, 375 mL, $36.05) 3 oz hot water 1 lemon peel (garnish) 1 lavender sprig (garnish) 1 Pour gin, syrup and Chartreuse into Toddy mug. Stir. Top with hot water. Garnish with lemon peel and lavender sprig.

Dan Cronin


Better known on social media as Dan Draper, Dan Cronin is one of those old-school, history-buff bartenders with an encyclopedic knowledge of ingredients, techniques and classic recipes. This winter warmer is inspired by the lost and forgot- ten traditions of the era known as the golden age of the cocktail.

Makes 1 drink

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